Taxation and Cultural Heritage

Taxation and Cultural Heritage
A comparative and interdisciplinary study on how tax law and budgetary policies – both international and domestic – have an impact on the protection and promotion of cultural heritage.

Why this book?

This book is the result of an in-depth, interdisciplinary and comparative study of the public financial regime of historical heritage. It gives an overview of legal frameworks and public policies for targeting tax incentives so as to finance and promote cultural heritage. It gives examples on how this can be done in a systematic and efficient way. It fills the existing gap in international literature on cultural heritage finance and taxation, bringing together experts from different parts of Europe and the world to discuss different approaches and strategies.

The book consists of three parts. In Part 1, economic, international and European frameworks are analysed, with specific reference to the guidelines and constraints stemming from the OECD, UNESCO and the European Union.

In Part 2, selected national experiences in cultural heritage taxation are analysed in order to identify the best practices in the sector. This part provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the regulatory framework for cultural heritage in a significant number of countries around the world. It covers both the constitutional context and the taxation and public spending policies aimed at cultural heritage preservation and promotion. 

In Part 3, topical issues of cultural heritage taxation are discussed, including the VAT regime for artwork, museum taxation, free ports for art, transfer in lieu, art cities and artists’ tax regimes. The book ends with a conclusion in which the most important findings in the three parts are analysed, compared and summarized.

There are many and diverse financial initiatives around the world aimed at protecting, preserving and enhancing the cultural heritage of humanity. While the focus is usually on direct subsidies, this book focuses on tax incentives and the regulatory context in which they function. This study, promoted by Professor Lorenzo del Federico at the University of Chieti-Pescara, offers a rich overview of these initiatives.


Sample excerpt, including table of contents


Reviewed by Anastasia Tennant, Senior Policy Adviser in the Museums and Cultural Property Team, Arts Council England.
British Tax Review Issue 5, 2022

“This book examines the often-overlooked topic of how taxation may play an important role in preserving and promoting cultural heritage. This latter term is used in its classical sense: tangible cultural heritage (movable like paintings, sculptures, furniture; and immovable like historic buildings, monuments and archaeological sites). Cultural heritage could be a key driver of socio-economic development, it says, and taxation may play an important role in its enhancement. Internationally, there is no homogeneous awareness of this potential.”


Lorenzo del Federico, Sigrid Hemels, José-Andrés Rozas, Silvia Giorgi 


Taxation and Cultural Heritage
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Public Finance and Tax Measures for Cultural Heritage: Issues, Methodologies and Guidelines
Chapter 3: The OECD Guidelines and Their Impact on National Policies for Cultural Heritage
Chapter 4: The Funding of World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO
Chapter 5: Financing the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the European Union: The Legal Framework for Tax and Non-Tax Instruments
Chapter 6: European Ties to Tax Policies and the State Aid System
Chapter 7: The Public Funding of Culture: The Uncertain Boundary between State Aid and Non-State Aid
Chapter 8: Cultural Heritage, Taxation and Constitutional Traditions Common to EU Member States: Exploring the Scope of Article 167 of the TFEU
Chapter 9: International Tax Treaties and Cultural Heritage
Chapter 10: The US Experience
Chapter 11: The French Experience
Chapter 12: The Italian Experience
Chapter 13: The Spanish Experience
Chapter 14: The German Experience
Chapter 15: The Austrian Experience
Chapter 16: The Swedish Experience
Chapter 17: The Latin American Experience
Chapter 18: Taxation and Cultural Heritage: Focus on Selected Jurisdictions
Chapter 19: VAT: The Unconventional Economic Nature of Works of Art
Chapter 20: Finance and Taxation for Museums
Chapter 21: Tools to Support Cultural Heritage between Public and Private: Tax Breaks for Cultural Patronage
Chapter 22: Free Ports for Art: Tax Implications
Chapter 23: Paying Taxes with Cultural Heritage or Rather an Exemption upon Inheritance?
Chapter 24: Art Cities, Sustainable Tourism and Tax Measures
Chapter 25: Tax Incentives for Artists and Contemporary Art
Chapter 26: Conclusion